from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A fishing seine that is drawn into the shape of a bag to enclose the catch.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun : a fishing seine having a purse cable which acts as a draw string for the bottom of the net allowing entire schools of fish to be enclosed and brought up. See "Purse Seine"

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a seine designed to be set by two boats around a school of fish and then closed at the bottom by means of a line


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  • "In 1855 the purse seine was invented, a 1,300-foot net of tarred twine with lead weights at the bottom and cork floats at the top. It was stowed in a dory that was towed behind the schooner, and when the fish were sighted, the dory quickly encircled them and cinched the net up tight. It was hauled aboard and the fish were split, gutted, beheaded, and thrown into barrels with salt. Sometimes the school escaped before the net was tightened and the crew drew up what was called a 'water haul'; other times the net was so full that they could hardly winch it aboard.... Purse seining passed for a glamorous occupation at the time, and it wasn't long before codfishermen came up with their own version of it. It was called tub trawling...."

    —Sebastian Junger, The Perfect Storm, 1997 (NY: HarperCollins, 1999), 25

    August 17, 2009